Posts tagged ‘apple daily’

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Cominform in Taiwan’s Press: many Cents

Advertorials placed in the press by Taiwan’s government on all levels blurred relations between the media and the government, and were becoming the main source of revenue for media, former (Chinese-language) China Times senior editor Dennis Huang (黃哲斌) warns. Huang resigned his post with the paper last month, the Taipei Times wrote on Tuesday.

China reportedly adopted the practise, too:

Antonio Chiang (江春男), a consultant for the Chinese-language Apple Daily, told a panel at the “Democracy Building in Interesting Times” conference in Taipei that the most serious threat to the independence of the Taiwanese media was advertorials placed by China under the guise of news reports.

Chiang said this phenomenon was a concern because China was willing to put ads in Taiwanese media to promote its image, media outlets that receive funding for such placements then “self-censor” their news coverage to avoid embarrassing or angering Beijing.

A visit by China’s negotiator Chen Yunlin to Taiwan is a less open affair than were certain Soviet propaganda events in non-communist countries during the past decade. Chen travels, smiles, and offers “opportunities”. If he was asked embarrassing questions, the way Soviet delegates and their fellow conferees were during the Waldorf-Astoria “Peace Conference” in New York, in March 1949, one may wonder which Taiwanese papers would cover the event extensively, if at all.

Just as Moscow rallied Western intellectuals to its cause of “peace” in the early days of the Cold War, a Congress for the freedom of the Culture, an organization sponsored by the CIA, rallied Europeans to its agenda. Not every supporter of the Congress was reportedly aware of its funding. Heinrich Böll, for example, is said to haven’t known.

The way China works its way through free societies isn’t harmless. Different from the USSR, it successfully presents itself as a honeypot for business. This is probably the main reason why the question if the CCP is an authoritarian or a totalitarian party isn’t even seriously discussed. The USSR offered barter trade opportunities at best.

But there are parallels between the Cold-War competitions for hearts and minds, and the current one made in China. In 1950, North Korea invaded the South. Soviet efforts to present itself as a power for peace suffered corresponding setbacks. China’s role as an Asian neighbor, beyond its support for Pyongyang, hasn’t looked too peaceful either, since last year. Beijing’s advertorials in the Taiwanese press, which reportedly began to appear in 2008, may be viewed as a game played by China’s propaganda departments and some not-too influential ministries, while the politburo is playing the more defining, and much less appealing game. When facts speak a different language from propaganda, the effect of propaganda itself is hampered.

Media which report about these issues most openly could be seen as more trustworthy than those who treat it as a rather small issue. But what really decides the matter is a judicious readership. If the markets refuses to buy bullshit, you won’t even need legislation. The editors themselves will then become the best guardians of good practise.

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Related
Hong Kong: How to Corrupt an Open Society, Aguust 29, 2009

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Obituary: Szeto Wah, 1931 – 2011

Szeto Wah (司徒華, Si Tuhua) was born in Hong Kong on February 28, 1931. The city of his ancestors was Kaiping in Guangdong province. For forty years, he worked as a teacher and a school principal. He was  a functional-constituency member of Hong Kong’s Legislative Council (LegCo) for the Teaching constituency from 1985 to 1991, and a democratically-elected member for the Kowloon East constituency from 1991 through 2004. He was  a member of the Democratic Party, and chairman of the Hong Kong in Support of Patriotic [update: Democratic] Movements of China organization (香港市民支援愛國民主運動聯合會), to which the HK Standard referred as subversive in 2010.

He was a principled but hard-headed democrat, steadfast, but skeptical of high-handed idealism.

In July 2009, the League of Social Democrats (LSD) proposed resignations by pan-democrats from LegCo. Their chairman said that this would “give people the chance to say they don’t want any undemocratic reform proposals short of full universal suffrage by 2012″. The Civic Party (公民黨) sided with the LSD. So, initially, did veteran Democratic Party politician Martin Lee Chu-ming (李柱铭).

In a discussion of this referendum of sorts which in which Jimmy Lai, the founder of Next Media apparently played a driving role, Szeto pledged support for all pan-democrats who wanted to go ahead with the plan, but advised the Democratic Party not to become part of such a move. In the end, according to the HK Standard, his stance seemed to have had a moderating influence on other Democratic Party leaders, including Martin Lee, who stood by the original idea, but still called for re-thinking the plan across the pan-democratic parties: “At first I thought the democrats were likely to support the plan to stage a de facto referendum but it seems more people are against the idea.”

A low turnout in the May 2010 by-elections which followed the five resignations which had been part of the plan seemed to vindicate Szeto’s position.

But in the end, both the Democatic Party and the more “radical” democratic parties were in a position to claim shares in the progress towards universal suffrage. In June 2010, apparently due to some extent to a less-than-convincing televised debate with barrister and opposition leader Audrey Eu (余若薇) of the Civic Party, Hong Kong’s chief executive Donald Tsang decided to overcome contradictions by seeking common ground with the opposition. He made his announcement of inclusion of suggestions from the Democratic Party of June 21, 2010.

An occasional pro-democracy commenter on this blog, Taihanasie, lauded the Democratic Party’s role in  what was after all a step, even if only a small one,  forward towards universal suffrage in Hong Kong. The Democrats had managed to see through five additional functional, but elected by the public members in LegCo. On the other hand, as district councillors were to nominate the candidates, pro-Beijing interests would still have some degree of say in who held the new legislative posts. Tsang saved face, Taihan argued, and so did Beijing, while the Democrats had looked reasonable and more likely to gain more support from the mainstream in Hong Kong:

My own thought on this is that the Democrats played their hand brilliantly. They know that Beijing does not want to lose support in Hong Kong because such support is essential to maintaining the aura of success that surrounds the One Country, Two Systems model. In the face of a hugely influential Beijing, the Democrats knew when to hold their ground, and they won concessions.

Liu Xia (劉霞), Liu Xiaobo‘s wife, invited Szeto to attend this year’s Nobel Peace Prize award ceremony in Norway, but Szeto was nearing death. He asked Lee Cheuk-yan, his vice chairman of the Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China, to attend instead.

“The fight never ends for Szeto”, Mary Ma wrote in February 2010. But at the time, everyone already knew that it would have to end for him, soon.

Szeto Wah died from lung cancer at the Prince of Wales Hospital in Shatin on Sunday afternoon local time, aged 79.

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Related
Brushstrokes of Spring (see pictures 4 and 5), Learning Cantonese, February 1, 2008
Szeto Wah on Democracy, Charles Mok / Youtube, July 27, 2007

Update/Related
Szeto Wah, Political Activist in HK, Dies at 79, New York Times, January 2, 2011

Friday, October 8, 2010

Taiwan News Roundup: “in Just Three Seconds”

Municipal Elections in November

Taiwan’s municipal elections will be held on November 27 – Wikipedia provides some opinion polls and results of past elections (last updated on October 3). Echo Taiwan shows the seats and offices up for grabs, and the respective numbers of contestants, plus a schedule.

A Gu commented more than a week ago on an interview which DPP chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) had given to Taiwan’s edition of Apple Daily earlier in September.

The municipal elections were about dealing with local issues, Apple Daily quotes Tsai. As for national issues, views within the DPP had also become more unified (內部意見也趨於一致), after profound reflection following the election defeats in 2008 (民進黨失去政權後,是有深刻反省的). Tsai is directly quoted as saying that

Awareness of political ideals is one thing; stability is another – the most important thing in cross-strait relations is stability (體認政治取向是一回事,穩定又是一回事,兩岸最重要的是穩定。)

Tsai currently doubles as the DPP’s chairwoman, and as her party’s candidate for mayorship of Sinbei City (新北市). Sinbei  [aka Xinbei] used to be Taipei County before a re-organization of Taiwan’s administrative divisions.

A Gu is critical of Tsai’s remarks, although

I sense she’s responding to the tendency of the ever-important moderate voter; I also note she wasn’t terribly specific.

Fan Liqing (范麗青), China’s Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) spokeswoman, probably couldn’t agree more, but would certainly see the supposed election context of Tsai’s remarks in a much less friendly light. On a press conference on September 29, she said that

I have seen the coverage, I don’t know if this is election language (看到了有關報導,不知道這是不是選舉語言),

adding that the peaceful development of cross-strait relations was based on “opposing Taiwan independence” and “upholding the 92 consensus“.

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FTAs: “Keep Taiwan’s Interests in Mind”

Meantime, Dixteel argues that while signing free-trade agreements (FTA) with further countries (after establishing ECFA with China earlier this year) can be feneficial, FTAs shouldn’t be signed for FTAs sake.

I am not saying signing FTA with Singapore is a bad thing, but Taiwan needs to have a Taiwan centric thinking when signing this deal.  Otherwise, this type of deals will only be a tool of pro-China politicians and a waste of time and money, because they will not be negotiated with Taiwan’s interests in mind.

The Straits Times (Singapore), advocating the FTA, suggested on September 15 that Singapore’s and Taiwan’s economies could be a lot more complementary than meets the eye.

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KMT Government Approval Ratings: give me just three seconds

As various polls have shown disappointment with [Tawain's] cabinet’s performance, Executive Yuan president Wu Dun-yih (吳敦義) is quoted by Channel Asia as saying that “every cabinet member has room to improve and we will do it. If President Ma (Ying-jeou) thinks I should fine tune it, I could do it in just three seconds.”

Writing this post took a bit longer.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Taiwan: Wanted, Hence Unwanted

This is what the secretary-general of Taiwan’s newly-appointed interior minister said yesterday: “For the national security of the country, we forbid Rebiya Kadeer to enter Taiwan.”

Hear, hear.

The minister of the interior himself, Jiang Yi-hua (江宜樺), suggested that Kadeer, head of the World Uyghur Congress (WUC) maintained close relations with the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, which is declared a terrorist group by the United States and the United Nations.

That’s what Beijing keeps claiming. And that in turn may be why the WUC secretary general, Dolkun Isa, is “wanted by Interpol”.

“Wanted” is the correct technical term. But the way either a KMT politician, or the China Post, used it today would suggest that Interpol itself actually wants something or someone – which is not the case. Interpol issues arrest warrants on any judiciary’s request, so long as it is the judiciary of an Interpol member state. And that has become a highly politicized instrument. Google “interpol arrest warrants”, and you will find a lot of people wanted, and a lot of lobbyists’ attempts to get their opponents wanted.

Besides, what was traded as an international arrest warrant against Dolkun Isa in the news recently was a “red notice” only months earlier. Maybe it still is.

Then the stuff about Kadeer’s links to terrorist organizations. Does Taipei base its assessment on evidence of its own? Or do they see terrorist links because they have taken orders from Beijing?

If Dolkun Isa was a Falun Gong staffer rather than the WUC’s secretary general, he might have been more lucky in South Korea this month. Interpol doesn’t get involved in cases of a political or religious nature.

But of course, Beijing tried to get Li Hongzhi wanted anyway. And whoever is (not) wanted, Rebiya Kadeer still wouldn’t get a visa for Taiwan.

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Taiwan News, Editorial Abstracts:
“.. allowing her to visit Taiwan would be a provocative political movement that flies in the face of the country’s campaign to nurture the warming ties with Beijing…” (Apple Daily Taiwan)

Sunday, November 30, 2008

What does Chen Shui-bian’s Arrest Mean for China?

Hsieh Chang-ting (Frank Hsieh, 谢长廷), former Taiwanese premier and DPP presidential nominee who lost against Ma Ying-jeou in March this year, said in an interview that if former president Chen Shui-bian did wrong, he should pay the price and be tried. However, noone should leap to conclusions. The judicial system only enjoyed the trust of less than 30%. Hsieh also said that street demonstration in a democratic society should be organized and carried out in an orderly and non-violent way.

The Time China Blog quotes Hu Shuli, editor leading Chinese financial magazine Caijing as saying that Taiwan’s judicial process

is special for Chinese around the world. When a former leader is detained in an ordinary jail cell, it’s clear that China’s old feudal saying that “punishment reaches no officials” is no longer valid.

The Time Blog also quotes Apple Daily publisher Jimmy Lai:

…as difficult as it may seem, China should look for help from Taiwan. The island has institutions that protect and nurture ideas. It is a place where people don’t have to be afraid of holding unpopular opinions. Most importantly, Taiwan has a fully functioning democracy.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Special Roundup (Brainsaver)

A lot of blogs have weekly roundups of their posts. This one hasn’t. After all, I don’t write more than seven posts a week (rather only half of that or less), and the ten most recent posts can be found to the top right of the main page. So if someone wants a roundup, he or she can click there.

However, I find little time to draw my usual little cartoons lately. What a shame that they are all buried underneath piles of mere text posts!

Judge by yourself:

————————–

1. Net Nanny:

With the following posts -

a) Censorship: Yes we can!

b) Don’t be too appledaily

c) Net Nanny speaks out

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2. Olympic Opening Ceremony…

Public Deceived?

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3. The EP-3 Incident…

picture enlargement »

… and what really happened.

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4. Hermit the Taoist Dragonfly’s latest Invention will help…

to win the Olympics!

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5. And Senator John McCain…

picture enlargement »

speaks the language of the enemy.

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There are some more, but let’s leave it here. Just wanted to make sure that these… umm… masterpieces aren’t missed by anyone. Advice to all bloggers: roundups save you time and mental work.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Net Nanny: Don’t be too appledaily

No unhealthy stuff

No unhealthy stuff

Slow connection speed and apparent restricted access to news websites have riled many of the media outlets already in Beijing 12 days out from the opening ceremony, said Charisse Ede, of the Herald and Weekly Times, Australia, on July 27. (Apparent restricted access, hehe.)

How can they complain? They get the best internet connection in China! And who wants to read Apple Daily? Jiang Zemin himself, he who invented the Three Representatives, said that Apple Daily is no recommendable read!

Why would any foreign guest (except Snowwhite if she wasn’t dead already for tenthousand generations)  want to read unhealthy apples?

Drop dead, ungrateful scum.

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